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  • Friday, October 27, 2017
  • 1:30 PM–2:30 PM
  • Science Building 010

Priscilla Nyamai, Grand Valley State University

Habitat restoration for the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis): Examining plant recruitment patterns and productivity along a fire frequency gradient in an oak barrens ecosystem

Oak barren ecosystems are critical habitats for the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Due to land fragmentation, changes in the regime of natural disturbances, and changes in land use practices, less than 1% of these habitats are left in Michigan per some estimates. Restoration of the remnant ecosystems is therefore crucial, whether that is by reintroducing fire into the system as the natural disturbance typical of this system or by other restoration strategies. This study examines vegetation response to fire application in a small oak barren parcel in Newaygo County. Fire was introduced into the area at different points between 2007 and 201l, but no follow up had been made to see what the responses were with regards to recruitment of both native and nonnative species. It is expected that the results of the study will help inform addition management decisions for this site.

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